The Term MAF, also known as Maximum Arrest Force, comes directly from Section 102 of The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 under clause (c) which states that "An employer or contractor shall ensure that a personal fall arrest system required by these regulations...applies a peak fall-arrest force not greater than eight kilo-newtons to a worker..."
A kilo-newton is a force that is equal to approximately 225 lbs-force. Where the Saskatchewan fall-arrest legislation states Max Arrest Force is 8kN, this is equal to 1800 lbs-force. So how do we abide by this legislation and what does it mean?
In the Northern Strands Fall Protection course, they train that Personal Fall Arrest Systems should be a last resort, but S102(c) was put in place to make sure that the risk of injury from the fall-arrest equipment itself is reduced.
There are 3 principal ways we can make sure that we don't exceed the MAF:
1) Keep Free Fall to a minimum - use the shortest possible lanyard, anchor well overhead, and use retractables.
2) Minimize Weight - limit the number of tools that will be supported by the full-body harness.
3) Use the Most Distance possible to come to a stop.
This last point might be hard to imagine, but picture it like this: would you rather bring your vehicle to a stop using brakes over a distance of a block, or would you rather bring your vehicle to a stop against a brick wall? The energy of any moving object whether its a falling person or a moving vehicle has to be reduced gradually or there will be an excessive stopping (arresting) force put on the object.
These two controls are actually outranked by another. What about not performing the work at heights in the first place? Obviously this is not always a practical solution, but nonetheless its worth considering. Even trying to relocate certain job steps to the ground level is better and safer than performing 100% of the work at heights. Give us a call and we can help you out with some more proactive fall protection solutions.
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When conducting work site inspections, audits, or periodic rigging inspections, it is not uncommon to have to take anywhere from 80% -100% of the synthetic web slings out of service. There are a large variety of reasons a synthetic sling, “gets itself” into such a state of disrepair, but one thing that comes up from time to time when you ask a sling’s user why it is still on the rack in a clearly damaged state, a typical response might be:
“Oh, well you can’t see the red marker threads, so I thought they were still good…?”
Unbeknownst to some, many synthetic slings can be cut completely in twain and there will be no evidence of the aforementioned “red marker threads” whatsoever.
Backstory: some sling manufacturers would weave a different colored thread into the web sling material as a way to warn users of excess wear/abrasion/etc. The idea was that sling users would be able to more quickly identify a worn out sling by seeing the different colored thread.
So now we can see the issue that I have with this: the manufacturers added a feature to help sling users identify worn web slings and then sling users eventually turned it into a Go/No-Go gauge. This is made even worse by the fact that many, many slings do not have red marker threads of any kind. And even when slings do have them there can be many other reasons to take a synthetic sling out of service before they become visible.
If you’re noticing a trend like this on your worksite inspections follow this link http://www.northernstrands.com/training.aspx and we can discuss how the Northern Strands Below the Hook Rigging Training program could help you and/or your workforce learn where to draw the line and take slings and other rigging out of service before they become a hazard.
Why does rigging need a safety factor?
Have you wondered why rigging experts always suggest a sling that has a significantly higher breaking strength than the actual weight of the load you are lifting? The manufacturers know that the rigging used in overhead applications need to have room for error. This is known as the Safety Factor.
Northern Strands manufactures wire rope slings rated up to 36,000 lbs and sells round synthetic slings that are rated up to 140,000 lb capacity. This capacity is the Working Load Limit of the sling, which is the maximum amount of weight or force that the sling's user is allowed to put on the sling. Note: These slings do not break at the working load limit. These slings are designed with a safety factor of 5:1. This means that 5 times as much force as the working load limit has to be applied to the sling before it potentially fails. This means the wire rope slings have a Breaking Strength of up to 180,000 lbs and the round synthetic slings can withhold up to 700,000 lbs.
Why are these capacities reduced by such a drastic degree?
Among others, here are 3 good reasons:
- Shock Loading - Unexpected drops where the load can accelerate and then must be 'caught' by the slings.
- Wear - Working load limits are based on slings in brand new condition and a safety factor can help account for normal wear and tear until it is deemed unfit for further use.
- Uneven loading - Slings are made up of either wires or fibers that must all share the weight of the load evenly. If any situation arises where the sling is bent or wrapped around an object, there is potential that some of the wires or fibers will be taking on a greater share of the load than others.
Visit Northern Strands website to use the sling tension calculator. The Northern Strands Sling Calculator has been designed to assist you in selecting slings with enough load carrying capacity for your lifting applications. It is your responsibility to assure that the slings you use are appropriate for your application. http://www.northernstrands.com/sling-calculator.aspx
To inquire about Rigging and Safety Factors, contact:
Northern Strands @ 306-242-7073
or Email email@example.com
Northern Strands is proudly Saskatoon, Saskatchewan owned and operated.
Recently Northern Strands launched it's Grain Bin Fall Protection System at AG in Motion, the fastest growing Agriculture trade show in Canada. The response was overwhelmingly positive! Farmers from across Canada stopped by our booth to express interest in our Grain Bin Fall Protection System. Farmers were very excited at the prospect of a simple, easy to use, cost effective solution that would prevent people from falling off a grain bin and impacting the ground or falling to the bottom of a grain bin and suffocating. At Northern Strands we believe serious injuries are preventable and avoidable with proper planning and systems in place. It is with this belief in mind that Northern Strands accepted the challenge of making grain bin inspections and repairs more safe by developing a fall protection system. Our patent pending fall protection system is a cutting edge product designed to protect farm workers from a fall while climbing or accessing a bin for repairs or inspections.
Almost every farmer had a story to tell of them or someone they know falling off or in a grain bin. We obviously knew people fall off grain bins, but we were shocked at the high frequency in which grain bin falls happen. Many farmers we talked to had a story to tell, from broken legs, arms, backs, you name it we heard it.
One very exciting aspect of the trade show was our fall protection system being nomination for the AG in Motion Innovative product award. This nomination brought us to the attention of numerous media outlets. By the end of the trade show our fall protection team had completed at least a half dozen interviews on the Grain Bin Fall Protection System.
Contact us by phone 306-242-7073 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This fall protection system is a cutting edge product designed to
protect farm workers from a fall while climbing or accessing a bin for
repairs or inspections. In today’s world, worker/farmer safety has never been more emphasized and important than it is right now. At Northern Strands we believe serious injuries are preventable and avoidable with proper planning and systems in place. It is with this belief in mind that Northern Strands accepted the challenge of making grain bin inspections and repairs more safe by developing a fall protection system. When properly installed and used, our system will prevent a person from falling off a grain bin and impacting the ground or falling into the bottom of a grain bin and suffocating. Currently this system is compatible with the Westor and Westeel 1805
bins. Northern Strands is working on Fall Protection Systems that will
work for other models of grain bins.
The launch for this new Grain Bin System is happening at AG in Motion Tuesday July 18, 2017 - Thursday July 20, 2017. AG in Motion is just 15 mins NW of Saskatoon on Hwy 16 at Range Road 3083. Northern Strands will be at Booth Space 420. There will be demos throughout the week.
Contact the Northern Strands Fall Protection Division today to find out more about Farm Safety. The Engineered Fall Protection Division offers a variety of fall protection systems, solutions and services. Custom-engineered solutions can be designed to suit specific requirements. Services and equipment include: inspection and replacement services for overhead and vertical lifelines, consulting, supply and installation services for single point anchors, guardrail systems, walkways, platforms and structural assessments.
Grain bin anchor fall protection system brochure.docx.pdf (502.2KB)